How this mom lost over 100 pounds.
Practicing self-care isn’t an act of selfishness: it’s the ultimate act of kindness for your child. After all, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of a happy and healthy parent—and that’s what practicing self-care is all about.
Now before you start rolling your eyes, let me say this: I get it. I know how hard it can be to make yourself a priority when you’re busy raising a family. For the better part of a decade, I could have been the poster child for self-neglect—and I ended up gaining over 100 pounds as a result.
I have since found my way to a much happier and healthier place. This is what I learned along the way.
Food logging is critical. Keeping a food diary encourages me to continue to make mindful food choices. If I exceed my caloric budget on any given day, it’s because I’ve made a conscious decision to do so. It’s no longer the result of mindless and/or emotional eating.
Exercise is the glue that holds everything together. Being physically active on a daily basis helps me to manage my anxiety – which helps me to sleep better – which helps to reduce food cravings – which helps me to make better food choices. I feel and function at my best on days when I walk for a total of about an hour a day (which amounts to two or three short walks).
Hunger and deprivation are the enemy. I discovered early on in my journey that keeping food cravings at bay was key to making this thing manageable. I have to pay attention to the types of foods I am eating as well as the quantities that I am eating. If I go overboard with carbs by eating a lot of bread and fruit in any given day, I’m going to be a lot hungrier the next day than I would have been if I’d balanced out those carbs with ample quantities of protein and fat.
Self-compassion matters—a lot. The voice in my head that used to be harsh and self-critical is now kinder and much more compassionate. I have learned to treat myself at least as well as I would treat a friend who was struggling with a weight problem—as opposed to trying to bully myself into losing weight.
Losing a significant amount of weight isn’t easy, but it is possible and it is totally worth it. I started making changes back in 2013. Over the course of the next two years, I managed to lose over 130 lbs. and I have been maintaining a healthy weight ever since.
But this journey has been about so much more than just the number on the scale. It has been about falling in love with physical activity for the first time in my life and making peace with my body. It’s not so much about what I’ve lost as it is about what I’ve gained. I have gained health and happiness and hope for the future. I have gained a life.